Multiple sclerosis is a time-losing, energy-consuming, stress-inducing beast we MSers live with daily. The list of symptoms is quite extensive and changes like a chameleon depending on its surroundings. Cognitive issues often get overlooked if someone does not deal with them on a typical day. However, heat and stress can significantly exacerbate mental turbulence, making things go from bad to worse in the span of a blink. Stress alone can cause mental cloudiness, making thinking as complex as seeing through muddy water. Here is the story of how my stressful one-thousand-mile move to Florida and everything involved caused a money mistake that changed my future.
Because of my lackadaisical concern for security fifteen years ago, I made a mistake that caused many negative consequences. This embarrassing error created an explosion of problems, forcing me to lose the trust of friends and even some family. Furthermore, this careless security action aided in eviscerating my Rolodex of remaining friends. I could ill afford such a devastating loss to my existence so long ago, which allowed the darkness to creep in and envelop my life quietly. After so long, I thought I had learned my lesson never to make a mistake like that again, yet like a savage weasel, the stress and anxiety caused devastating chaos.
After I went through the Amazon return process and had not received my refund one week later, I was concerned. I get refunded the minute the delivery driver scans the label on the return package while he is still on the truck. So I asked my cell phone for the number of Amazon customer service, and Google spit out a number like a fastball from a pitcher. I quickly called to question and clarify the status of the great rebate debate, exactly where things went awry.
The gentleman on the phone told me you have fraudulent activity on your card. He then had me download a program to help them remove the unauthorized individuals, creating the deceptive costs. The minute I opened the newly downloaded software, he showed me the expensive purchases made by three others on my credit card. Like a lawyer in a courtroom, I vociferously proclaimed with my fists clenched tightly in fear and anger that I did not incur those fraudulent fees.
If you are currently talking to this blog like yelling “He’s right behind you!” in a movie theater, sharing warning signs, I now see them too. When I look back at this loss event, I see red flags, and I feel like a colossal idiot for not recognizing them at the time. However, properly peering into the past, I realize this was not the Amazon customer service number I thought it was, although that was probably their plan. However, stress and anxiety can aggravate the cognitive issues known as Cog-fog, which MS patients deal with often. You cannot understand how much this brain fog slows thinking when magnified by various complications.
He reassured me by explaining that this would not be a complicated repair as we caught it in time. All I had to do was go to my bank and send a Zelle transaction of $500, so they could track it and get the money back. He quickly informed me it was not an actual purchase transaction. Instead, he implied I was requesting money, meaning no money would leave my account. I repeated his statement to confirm what was happening because I did not want to pay but to stop the transaction, and he agreed.
I sent the Zelle $500 payment to track, and within a few minutes, the money left my account, although it was not supposed to. He put me on hold, and I kept thinking something was wrong as my sluggish brain loosened up like continually using a rusty pair of scissors. Finally, he returned to the phone a few minutes later and explained that one of the fraudulent people got removed from my account. He said he needed me to send another payment to track for $1,000, and luckily, my brain started functioning a little better. Red flags should have been smacking me in the face like the branches when falling out of a tree.
I argued with him about everything, including his new $1,000 request, not backing down and standing my ground. He quickly hung up, realizing his day of deception was done with me as my brain picked up speed like a snowball rolling downhill. I expeditiously began stopping anything he could try by changing the login and password for my credit card. Then, with lightning speed, I contacted my bank, which inevitably began investigating my claim of Zelle fraud. And to answer the question quietly sitting in the back of your mind as you read this, yes, Ally Bank refunded my money. Now, my security concerns will always be my priority, no matter how inconvenient, because it is worth it. I hope this does not lead to continual problems, and that I nipped it in the bud, never to flare up again.
Evil people want your money, so move cautiously, think carefully and act critically.